By Dawn Cranfield
Should Gen. David Petraeus Extra-Marital Affair be the Downfall of this Four-Star General?
The announcement last week of four-star Gen. David Petraeus’ decision to resign from his position as Director of the CIA has left the country in utter pandemonium over whether or not the scandal was hidden until after the election, whether the general provided his lover with confidential documents, and whether or not his affair started before or after he returned from Afghanistan. It is understandable the citizens of United States would be concerned with the upper echelon of officials in charge of our country’s security, I recognize that.
I am sincerely less concerned about his marital infidelity, and frankly less interested, in it than I am in the rest of the story; which I find to be utterly fascinating. The other players in the story, the two women and their high school jealousies and games, played for such high stakes in this incredibly powerful situation, is incredibly intriguing. But, I digress; back to him. He is a 60 year-old man in the twilight of his life, along comes a beautiful woman 20 years his junior who looks up to him. She thinks he is intelligent, interesting, and worthy of a biography, her first book nonetheless; what man would not find that sexy and stimulating? Countless other men in everyday life have affairs, and some notable ones as well Franklin D Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John F Kennedy, Lyndon B Johnson and Bill Clinton.
Paula Broadwell met Gen. David Petraeus in 2006 when she was a graduate student at Harvard University; he offered her his business card and offered to help her with a research project. (abcnews.go.com) She went on six trips to Afghanistan as his official biographer, “a plum assignment for a novice writer”. (abcnews.go.com) In interviews, Paula Broadwell describes going running with the four-star general, and getting to know him more in-depth, smiling and engaging the audience, in retrospect,
looking like a smitten kitten. She also appears on a late-night talk show where she is teased about her feelings being more than platonic; perhaps, the host knew more than the rest of us at the time.
But, those were surely better days for the liaising couple, back before the media frenzy and the firestorm of politics, military, and CIA predicaments. Enter Jill Kelley, the Florida woman who hardly comes off looking like an innocent victim receiving threatening or harassing emails from the “Kelley Patrol”. She reminds me of that woman a few years ago who crashed the White House party and went on to be featured in some inane reality television show as a result, or maybe it was the other way around. With statements like “I’m an honorary counsel-general, so I have inviolability, so I should, they should not be able to cross my property,” she said. “I don’t know if you want to get diplomatic protection involved as well?” (cbsnews.com) maybe she is hoping TLC or one of the other reality television networks will come knocking on her door.
Jill Kelley should have emerged from this scandal as the “hero”, but something does not feel “good” or “right” about her… maybe something about unclean hands, or glass houses. Perhaps, it is just the whole sullied world of politics on that level that most of us will never know; catered affairs with orchestras, fine food, and plenty to drink.
It is challenging then not to let one’s mind drift to the President and to his knowledge of the scandalous event; whether or not he kept it covered up until precisely the day after the election results were announced. Entirely possible at this point, but it is also possible that he is just a marionette with strings at the back of his neck and mouth.
At the center of this scandal, from most accounts, an excellent leader, a four-star general, two women with school girl jealous tendencies, a few bad decisions, and the demise of two promising careers. Oh, and let’s not forget, the devastated hearts of the betrayed spouses.